Blue Devils on Broadway: Meet the Alumni Leading Its Return
After nearly eighteen months in the dark, Broadway is set to reopen this fall with two shows directed by Duke alumni: Trouble in Mind, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright ’78, Tony and Grammy award-nominated director and Duke Distinguished Alumni Award-winner; and Pass Over, directed by Danya Taymor ’10, Obie Award-winning director, writer and translator. Join us for a conversation with these distinguished alumni, moderated by Broadway and TV actor-singer Aaron Lazar ’98.
Charles Randolph-Wright ’78
Writer, Director, and Producer
Charles Randolph-Wright has built a dynamic and diversified career in directing, writing, and producing for television, film, and theatre.
In theatre, Randolph-Wright directed the smash hit Motown: The Musical (Broadway, London and National Tours), the Broadway bound musical Born For This (which he co-wrote with gospel icon Bebe Winans), the Pulitzer prize winning play Ruined and the musical Sophisticated Ladies (starring Maurice Hines) at Arena Stage, the 75th anniversary tour of the opera Porgy and Bess, Brian Stokes Mitchell in Love/Life at Lincoln Center, Guys and Dolls (50th anniversary national tour), They’re Playing Our Song (in Portuguese in Brasil), Cabaret Verboten at the Mark Taper Forum (with Bebe Neuwirth and Roger Rees), and The Diva Is Dismissed (starring Jenifer Lewis) at the Public Theater.
Randolph-Wright wrote the play Blue, which broke box office records at Arena Stage (where he was an inaugural resident playwright), and has had productions throughout the United States, including Roundabout Theatre and Pasadena Playhouse. He wrote Cuttin’ Up, Night is a Child, Love in Afghanistan, and co-wrote the Tony nominated Just Between Friends starring Bea Arthur.
His upcoming theatre directing projects are Trouble In Mind by Alice Childress on Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre, the world premiere of Orfeus: A House Music Opera at the Young Vic in London, American Prophet: Frederick Douglass In His Own Words (which he co-wrote with Grammy winner Marcus Hummon) at Arena Stage. His play Blue (starring Leslie Uggams and Lynn Whitfield) will be directed by Phylicia Rashad at the Apollo Theatre.
Television credits include directing the series “Greenleaf,” “Katy Keene,” “Step Up Highwater,” “Lincoln Heights,” “South of Nowhere,” and “Live at Lincoln Center.” He directed the award-winning film Preaching to the Choir and produced and wrote the series “Linc’s.” Charles is an Executive Producer of the film Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, which recently won the Grand Jury Prize at the NY Doc Film Festival.
A native of York, South Carolina, Charles Randolph-Wright is an honor graduate of Duke University where he was an A.B. Duke Scholar and recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award. He serves on the Advisory Committee of the American Theatre Wing, the Board of Directors of the Roundabout Theatre, is an associate artist at The Young Vic, and a founding member of the Wright Family Foundation of South Carolina.
Danya Taymor ’10
Director and Translator
Danya Taymor is an Obie-Award winning director currently making her Broadway debut with Antoinette Chinonye Nwand’s Pass Over at the August Wilson Theater. Other recent work includes: Will Arbery’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Playwrights Horizons, Pulitzer Prize Finalist), Jeremy O. Harris’ Daddy (New Group/Vineyard), Korde Arrington Tuttle’s Graveyard Shift (Goodman), Danai Gurira’s Familiar (Steppenwolf), Martyna Majok’s queens (Lincoln Center Theater), Brian Watkins’s Wyoming (Lesser America) and My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer (The Flea). Upcoming: Endgame (Gate Theater/Dublin), Daddy (UK premiere/Almeida). Her 2017 world premiere production of Pass Over (Steppenwolf) was filmed in collaboration with Spike Lee and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is streaming on Amazon. She also helmed the NY Premiere of Pass Over at Lincoln Center in 2018. Taymor is the recipient of an Obie Award, Lortel nomination, the Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity from Lincoln Center and SDCF’s Joe A. Callaway Award for Direction.